The Alexandrinsky Theatre

The Alexandrinsky Theatre

Plan of auditorium

The Alexandrinsky Theatre is the oldest of all existing drama theaters in Russia. It is a symbol of Russian classical theater as the date of its foundation August 30, 1756 is the birthday of the Russian professional theater.

The theater got its present name during the reign of Emperor Nicholas I. In 1832 the theater was named Alexandrinsky after his wife, the tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, who was an ardent theater lover.

In the Soviet time, in 1937, which was a centenary of the death of the great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, the theater was renamed and got the name of Pushkin Drama Theater.

However, its informal name is Alexandrinka.

During two and a half centuries, the theater was an attribute of the Russian national identity. In the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries it was the main imperial theater, whose fate was determined by Russian Emperors.

What makes the theater famous is its productions of classical plays.

The Alexandrinsky Theater is particularly proud of the fact that almost all plays of the Russian classical dramaturgy were premiered on its stage. The theater was favored by many Russian literati. It was frequented by Alexander Pushkin, Ivan Turgenev, and Alexander Blok. Anton Chekhov used to come here to watch the success of his plays. The theater has always had very strong teams of actors, which is why it is often referred to as the Theater of Masters.

Prominent directors who worked here include Vsevolod Meyerhold, Grigory Kozintsev and Nikolay Akimov.

An array of legends is connected to the Alexandrinsky Theater. Architects say that the design of the theater is very similar to that of a temple, the stage playing the part of an altar. Actors say that the building is located at the crossing point of energy fields. Some of the staff members derive strength from them during performances while others complain that it depletes them of energy.

The Alexandrinsky Theater is also famous for its endless corridors and stairs. They make no less than a labyrinth which is so intricate that even those who are in the know sometimes get lost.

Alexandrinka is famous for its museum of dust, as well. The museum contains specimen of the oldest theater dust. Special vessels are used to store dust of the 1800s vintage, which has colour and structure different from those of young dust. Some more exciting items are also stored in the theater, among them stage costumes used by actors in previous centuries.

Today, the Alexandrinsky Theater opens its doors both drama performances as well as ballets. If you are interested in the drama theater, we will be pleased to offer you a voyage of discovery of the theater’s life behind the scenes and its wonderful museum. As for ballet fans, they are very welcome to enjoy productions of classical ballets. A special treat is a glass of champagne during the intermission on the huge imperial terrace of the theater overlooking the Alexandrinsky garden!